“The Costco in Gaithersburg is the 7th circle of hell” is just one of many answers we received when we asked the question, “What is the worst parking lot in MoCo?” on social media. Everyone has had their share of terrible experiences in MoCo parking lots, and while there are more than 26 “bad” parking lots, we’ve narrowed down a list (in no particular order) of what we feel are the worst.
In the past year this shopping center has added a Marshalls, Five Below, &Pizza, and Claire’s, and is scheduled to open a Montgomery County Liquor store in the coming months. These new stores, in addition to a CVS, Panera, and a very busy Chipotle, have turned Gaithersburg Square into one of the busiest shopping centers in the county.
Norbeck Center (Rockville)
This center has several incredibly popular restaurants (Full On & Big Greek Café) and only a handful of parking spots. Full On has even devoted of a portion of their website (www.fulloncraft.com/parking/) to helping guests with the parking situation. “While there are only a few spots in front of Full On, the lot in front of White’s Hardware Store is public space. 46 spots are open to the public at all times. Follow the sidewalk that runs parallel to Norbeck Rd which takes you directly to our door!”
This article was inspired by Fox 5’s Jim Lokay when he tweeted “What is the most lawless frontier in the DC region and why is it the parking lot at the Gaithersburg Costco?” The Gaithersburg location has the strangest layout and most people don’t use the underground portion of the lot.
The traffic for this Chick-Fil-A’s drive thru on Century Blvd is so bad that it often times closes all lanes of the parking lot.
The biggest issue is getting in and getting out. When those lines start to form and it seems like nobody knows who’s supposed to go? Oh man.
Every Trader Joe’s
Federal Plaza in Rockville has been one of the busiest parking lots for as long as I can remember. Trader Joe’s doesn’t help. The same goes for every other Trader Joe’s location in the county. Some say they do it on purpose so that they can increase the amount of customers during their off-peak hours.
Shady Grove Home Depot (Gaithersburg)
“Leaving Home Depot Gaithersburg #2550 off this list is a major oversight” was just one of the dozens of comments we received about the Home Depot at 15740 Shady Grove Rd when we posted the 2021 list. This year we’re not making the same mistake.
Costco (Wheaton Plaza)
The Costco at Wheaton Mall opened in 2013 and the parking lot has been packed ever since. In addition to the normal craziness of a Costco lot there’s the added bonus of a shopping mall.
Gaithersburg Commuter Bus Stop/Park & Ride
Several readers mentioned the Park & Ride stop that’s located on West Diamond Ave in Gaithersburg, with one writing, “will take you a good 20 minutes to get out of the lot during rush hour..”
Flagship Center (Rockville)
Flagship is located on Rockville Pike across from the Montrose Crossing Shopping Center. With restaurants like Pho 75, Thai Cuisine, and China Bistro, there’s good reason parking is always tight.
Rio AMC (Gaithersburg)
Everyone’s favorite garage at Rio, most people prefer to try to find a spot at the very bottom of the lot so they can walk out by Guapo’s. Also a popular spot for giant SUVs backing up into spaces.
Woodmoor Shopping Center (Silver Spring)
One of the oldest shopping centers in MoCo can also be one of the most problematic. Though you can park in the back (it also gets full), we all hope for the best and try to make it into that front triangle parking lot.
With H-Mart, the Dollar Store, and AutoZone all next to each other, it’s no surprise that this parking lot is one of the worst in the area. The lot is also known for its very narrow lanes.
Montgomery Village Center
What was once considered a “dead” shopping center, this parking lot has seen a huge increase in traffic ever since Aldi opened up next to Big Lots in 2020. With the addition of Starbucks, and several more restaurants scheduled to open this year, expect it to only get worse.
The closer to Giant you get, the better your chances of a bad experience. We try to park far away and get our steps in when we head to the Leisure World shopping center.
Lancaster Dutch Market/Outback Parking Lot (Germantown)
You have to just park up by Dairy Queen and walk, but we always have high hopes and look for something better when we get there. Lots of spaces, but tends to get pretty full when you want to be there.
Firstfield Shopping Center (Gaithersburg)
The Starbucks drive-thru in this center is so busy that the line of cars often extends outside of the parking lot and on to the main road. The center also includes Einstein Bagels and Jimmy John’s.
Manhattan Pizza/Upcounty Beer & Wine (Clarksburg)
A very tight spot that makes it almost impossible to get in and out of. We suggest parking on the opposite end near the Subway. On a side note, definitely try the gelato at Manhattan!
Whether it’s the people double parking to run into Little Caesars for pizza, or trying to find a place to park in the back alley for Planet Fitness, both sides of this shopping center are a mess.
Olney Gardens (where CVS, Cava Mezze, and Cafe Rio are).
Olney Village Center and Fair Hill are also bad, but Olney Gardens is narrower and we think it squeaks out the victory of the Olney parking lots because if that.
Aspen Hill Shopping Center
There’s a lot going on so it could take a long time to get from one end to the other. Heading to McDonald’s? That’ll make it even worse.
Lowe’s Parking lot (Kentlands)
The four way stop in the Kentlands is pretty bad, but it’s not a parking lot, so we’re gonna go with Lowe’s here. There can be 11 cars parked yet somehow 378 people are walking to and from the parking lot at all times.
Wildwood Shopping Center (Bethesda)
The truck is to park in the back, but those can fill up too, and let’s be honest…we always think we’ll find something in the front. These short parking columns are the stuff nightmares are made of.
The international grocery store Megamart is one of the busiest grocery stores in the entire county. The shopping center also includes a 7-Eleven and Advanced Auto Parks. An honorable mention goes to Gaitherstowne Plaza (IHOP) right across the street on 355.
Every Whole Foods
Just like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods seem to bring out the worst in people in the parking lots. Silver Spring and River Rd. are my two least favorite parking lots, but the Kentlands and Rockville/N. Bethesda isn’t far behind.
Cabin John Village (Potomac)
The addition of the fast-casuals on the one side allows traffic to hit you from every angle. Construction didn’t help things recently either. Never a fun time when it’s busy.
The Flagship you refer to re: crappy parking is off Hungerford, 355 of north of downtown Rockville, across (where the old Rockville drive-in used to be) and just up from the Moco Board of Ed Campus. When at China Bistro, get the egg and squash dumplings and crispy spicy tofu and (vegetarian) hot and sour soup
The Giant parking lot next to Walter Johnson High School, Democracy Blvd. If you value your life, stay away!